Philippine tourism secretary Christina Garcia Frasco proposed at the 11th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Tourism Ministerial Meeting last week that some of the tourism recovery strategies taken by the Philippine government could be magnified and adapted on a larger scale in the Asia-Pacific region.
Suitable strategies are that that sought to increase connectivity, travel convenience, equal opportunities, and sustainable tourism.
To increase connectivity with APEC Member Economies and the rest of the world, Frasco shed light on the Philippines’ strategies to introduce improvements to infrastructure and transportation in order to provide an enhanced and affordable experience for visitors.
She also disclosed the country’s plans to partner with airlines and airports in the reinstatement of flights and development of new routes in order to restore affordable and competitive rates for international and domestic travel.
With digitalisation of information and booking services enhancement forming part of the major strategies to enhance end-to-end connectivity in the country, the tourism authority is also studying the development of a tourist life cycle app that will connect tourists to various tourism elements and facilitate intelligence data monitoring.
Another area ripe of adaptation is vaccine interoperability for a more convenient travel experience across APEC Member Economies.
“The Philippines is one with the tourism industry in supporting steps being undertaken to continue to open up our borders and facilitate seamless travel across destinations and economies in order to spur economic activity and people-to-people connectivity,” she said.
“Convenience may be spurred to ensure the uniformity of protocols and the interoperability of vaccine certificates across economies, as well as the development and updating of travel applications to make travel and destination information readily available,” she added.
Frasco also urged the creation of equal opportunities and sustainable tourism for all.
She said: “With new market preferences emerging for more sustainable tourism products, there is now an opportunity for new tourism destinations and products to be developed, paving the way for more multi-dimensional tourism experiences that are immersive and reflective of the unique cultures of the various economies in APEC.
“The equalisation of opportunities across underdeveloped destinations among APEC Member Economies is critical to spread economic opportunities to ensure that no one is left behind as we reboot and restart the travel and tourism industry,” she noted.
Recognising tourism’s propensity to have an adverse impact on local communities and the environment if progress was without regulation, Frasco pushed for the prioritisation of sustainable tourism practices, and coordination between APEC economies, as well as national and local governments.
“Since we’ve all envisioned the long-term success of the tourism industry, sustainable tourism paired with effective local and national governance and coordination spells the way forward. It is for this reason that we advocate for a close collaboration between APEC economies as well as national and local governments to prolong the life cycle of a tourist destination. Sustainable tourism policies need to be integrated within a wider economic, social, and environmental policy consideration within an overall sustainable development framework,” she said.
“We must therefore look at the basic elements of sustainable development as a guide post in the revival and continued recovery of the tourism industry across our economies,” she added.